House Joint Resolution 41
Background and procedural information
House Joint Resolution 41 proposes to amend the Oregon constitution to establish an independent redistricting committee for the drawing of district lines for the state legislature.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
No, however the bill does require that there be two representative districts within each senate district. This restriction may mean that districts must be single-member in practice.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
The legislation does not have standards for how to create districts.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The commission is comprised of five members to be chosen after each decennial census. Four members are appointed by the Supreme Court of Oregon. To be appointed, a person must be a retired state or federal judge who hasn’t held a partisan office, and has been a registered member of the Democratic or Republican parties for at least five years. The Supreme Court must create a list of qualified persons, and choose four at random to be appointed. If more than two people of either party are chosen, that name is thrown out and another is chosen until the four appointees are comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats. The fifth member is appointed by the four members appointed by the Supreme Court.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
No, there is no mechanism that allows the public to submit plans. The commission must hold at least three public hearings across the state, however, in which the public can give their input.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. Redistricting may only be done once, the year after the census.

*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.

November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

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